UNESCO and Malaysia join forces for Open Science in the Asia-Pacific region

UNESCO and Malaysia join forces for Open Science in the Asia-Pacific region

On 8-10 March 2023, UNESCO, in collaboration with the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) and the Science Technology Engineering Innovation Policy Asia and the Pacific Network (STEPAN), organized a hybrid workshop in Kuala Lumpur on enhancing and strengthening regional Open Science (OS) implementation mechanisms. The Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP) supported the event, to promote sustainable development through South-South Cooperation.

The workshop highlighted the importance of partnerships and collaborations in the OS ecosystem, providing a platform for experts from various backgrounds to share their insights on the implementation of OS in different regions and countries. Participants emphasized the need for greater collaboration between researchers, policymakers, funders, and other stakeholders, to better address  OS challenges, especially in the Asia-Pacific region with its variety of stages of political evolution and economic development.

The workshop was officially opened by Academician Dato’ Ir Dr Lee Yee Cheong FASc, ISTIC Honorary Chair, Mr. Tuan Haji Jasri Kasim, Secretary General, Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO, and Madam Anita Binti Bahari, Under-Secretary for the Division of Strategic Data & Foresight Technology on behalf of Madam Ruziah Shafei, Deputy Secretary General (Planning and Science Enculturation), Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI), representing the key stakeholders.

Open Science practitioners and policy makers, with over 50% female (18 physical participants and 49 online participants from more than 15 countries), attended the event, representing national universities and ministries in Malaysia, regional and youth organizations such as the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), the African Open Science Platform (AOSP), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, the African Science and Technology Policy Institute (ASTePI) and International Knowledge Centre for Engineering Sciences and Technology under the Auspices of UNESCO (ICKEST), China Participants exchanged on a wide range of OS-related issues, including data management, open access publishing, and the role of OS in addressing global challenges such as climate change and pandemics. They also discussed strategies for enhancing and strengthening OS initiatives in the region, sharing best practices and success stories.

Professor Dr. Noorsaadah Abd Rahman, Chair of the Malaysia Open Science Platform shared insights on the  history of OS in Malaysia and the creation of the National Alliance on Open Science, a invaluable asset for the scientific community. The country has been a pioneering leader in the regional OS movement. The Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP) has been developed and incorporated as a national initiative under the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2021-2030, to enable local researchers to share their research data.

Professor Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid delivered a special address on the ‘Science-Policy Interface in Open Science Implementation’ , highlighting the need to bridge the gap between academics and policy makers while improving the legal and institutional system of producing, managing, sharing, and effectively utilizing the results of open research and development in a reliable and responsible way to better the lives of all.

After discussing public policy updates and OS promotion, the participants developed a recommendation in the framework of 6 critical aspects of Open Science:

  1. GOVERNANCE: Develop an Enabling & Inclusive OS Governance Framework.
  2. FUNDING & INVESTMENT: Promote multi-stakeholder collaboration and contribution for dedicated OS funding.
  3. TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE: Establish a sustainable model for an identifiable, discoverable, accessible, and shared OS technology and infrastructure.
  4. CO-OPERATION & COLLABORATION: Enable a participatory/co-creation approach (partnership design → implementation → monitoring → evaluation → reporting) for transparency and integrity among the participating members.
  5. CAPACITY BUILDING: A sustainable Capacity Building for OS (CB4OS) through Learning and Training Modules and a  co-designed approach for OS actors.
  6. TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE: Incorporate diversity and inclusiveness (the core values of OS) of knowledge and knowledge systems in every aspect of OS implementation.

UNESCO has been working to encourage and support the shift to OS, to bridge the knowledge and technology gaps between and within countries. The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science was adopted unanimously by UNESCO’s General Conference at its 41st session in November 2021.

This activity supports the attainment of SDGs, specifically, SDG 17 on strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.  This workshop will be followed by an e-course, within the framework of the MUCP,  to ensure best knowledge management practices. To access the course please visit: http://bit.ly/40uB4TV

For more information please contact: mucp@unesco.org(link sends e-mail)